Contact Photography festival

CONTACT: TORONTO PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL at various venues. May 1 to 31. For Contact listings, see this page. www.contactphoto.com Rating: NNNNN


If you keep your ears perked at some of the smaller galleries this week you might hear a low grumbling noise. That’s the sound of curators and artists who wanted to be part of the internationally renowned event but couldn’t afford to put up the $400 admission fee.

But before boycot the exclusive fest, give Contact credit. Kodak, the major sponsor in previous years, pulled out, leaving organizers scrambling to fill the void. A huge round of grant applications produced enough government cash to keep things afloat even with the same exhibitor entrance fee as last year.

Good to know the granting agencies will step in.

Jag Gundu

THE SHOW : Love To Hate To Hate To Love: India

WHERE : National Film Board

WHAT : Film and digital, black-and-white and colour prints from personal trip across northern India

WHY : “I’m showing images of what moved me in India. What I felt was a complete contrast – from love to hate.”

BUZZ : Sports photographer who’s shot everyone from Tiger Woods to Serena and Venus shifts gears for his first public exhibition.

Terry Pidsadny

THE SHOW : Cadence

WHERE : Zypr Gallery

WHAT : Multiple exposures taken randomly from television screens and produced using colour electrostatic printing onto acetate

WHY : “I look for relationships that occur inside random activity. Because I don’t have any control of this randomness, I lose control of the artwork, try to bring it back and put some kind of meaning into it.”

BUZZ : Curator, speaker and teacher challenges norms in his second solo show.

Sunil Gupta

THE SHOW : Homelands

WHERE : Stephen Bulger Gallery

WHAT : 30-by-59-inch diary-like diptych prints that use contrast to explore location and community

WHY : “Northern India, the northeastern U.S. and Eastern Canada – these places have all been home to me. I wanted to make work about the journeys travelled between them.”

BUZZ : Famous for his projects that probe boundaries, homosexuality and East-West dichotomies.

Adam Krawesky

THE SHOW : Toronto Public

WHERE : Public clothing store

WHAT : Soulful photojournalism created over hours of walking T.O. streets

WHY : “The city swirls and shines between blinks, just between breaths, and I see it.”

BUZZ : The city’s never looked so compelling. Or funky.

Lisa Klapstock

THE SHOW : Recent work

WHERE : Drabinsky Gallery

WHAT : Self-portraits using guerrilla urban montage, photographing the photographic process

WHY: “I interrogate the nature of photography and the role of the camera in affecting and challenging the way we see and experience our surroundings.”

Buzz : Klapstock’s work is all about the act of looking, zeroing in on the tension between the public and the intensely personal.

Toni Hafkenscheid

THE SHOW : Recent work

WHERE : Robert Birch Gallery

WHAT : 30-by-30-inch colour prints that render reality as a miniature set

WHY : He likes “playing with fact and fiction in a reflection of reality.”

Buzz : Lots of photographers shoot miniature sets and make them look like reality, but Hafkenscheid has mastered a rare technique that transforms reality into a miniature set.

David Shrigley

THE SHOW : Lost Pidgeon

WHERE : Five bus shelters on Queen between Shaw and Gladstone

WHAT : Absurd photos printed on opaline backlit paper

WHY : “These shows were a way of documenting small interventions that I made in the outside world.”

Buzz : Waiting for a streetcar has never been so much fun.

Jack Burman

THE SHOW : New work

WHERE : Clint Roenisch

WHAT : Colour photographs – some as large as 40-by-50 inches – of bits of long-dead people

WHY : “Every moment of life is the last, every poem is a death poem.”

BUZZ : Either you’ll appreciate the beautiful way they show you your own fragile mortality, or you’ll say “Eew.” Sometimes both.

Ho Tam

THE SHOW : Posing

WHERE : Paul Petro

WHAT : Portraits of strangers shot with a consumer point-and-shoot camera and printed on colour paper

WHY : “Posing is about looking at how people present themselves in front of the camera in the everyday situation.”

Buzz : Critically acclaimed photographer uses cheap gear to shoot spontaneous portraits of thousands of strangers. You probably know one of them.

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